Typical greenery: Roadside/park/courtyard trees
The sort of tree one comes across everywhere in Barcelona is the plataner (platanus xhispanica or London Plane.) However, it is not the only type to be found . There are many varieties of Mediterranean species and particularly palm trees. These are obviously climate-bound. The “plataner” is a popular urban roadside tree choice for a big city as it is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution. It works well in Barcelona.


Various typical roadside, park and inner courtyard trees.


Park Joan Miró. Typical mixture of grass and playing/walking areas dotted with different varieties of trees.

Unexpected greenery: A loquat orchard amongst buildings
Unknown loquat orchard is to be found bang in the middle of a big block of flats.

Apparently, while building, some workmen carelessly threw the pits of their loquats on the ground. Those pits turned into little trees that had been wildly growing since then. That was until, some years ago, an elderly retired neighbour decided to make a hobby out of tending this orchard of sorts.
He waters, prunes and tends them and has even planted some other flowers (note the red rose) from cuttings from his own balcony flowers.


As seen from above and from within. An orchard that apparently started randomly but is now being tended.

Interesting use of greenery: Vertical green

Everybody in Barcelona knows this building on the Diagonal. It used to be a bank and now belongs to a publishing house. Well tended and interesting use of green vertically.


This is rather unusual in the city and, one reason why it could be so well-kept is that there are not residents (with what that entails.) Those balconies are probably hardly used (and taken care of by professional gardeners.) Still, a fine idea.

Specific to Barcelona: Recovery of Cerdà’s inner block courtyards in the Eixample

Every architect or urban planner knows Ildefons Cerdà’s Eixample (grid) plan for Barcelona.
According to his urbanization theory, he planned the expansion of the city around mid 19th century. The idea was a grid plan intersected by two diagonal avenues, each block of the grid having chamfered or bevelled sides. Originally each block (100 square metres approx.) was to be built leaving a central green space. However, speculation and increased land-values thwarted that idea.

In the last few years, that plan has been retaken and many of those inner green spaces recovered. There are several gardens, small parks, playing areas, even a kiddy’s pool being used as a result of this recovering of Cerdà’s plan. The city has improved immensely and residents are really enjoying their interiors d’illa.


List of the recovered inner blocks
Link of the Cerdà Year
A few articles on the Eixample

From an intrepid reporter in Barça.